Have you ever felt so embraced and cared for by the people, the food, the hospitality, and the setting of an establishment that you shed tears upon departure? The Skoki Lodge provided that experience for me. Excuse me if I sound overly dramatic (my kids would certainly say I am) but I can’t help it, when I see nature as pristine and alluring as it is at Skoki Lodge, I am overcome by joy and positivity.
The Skoki Lodge was built in 1931 by the Banff based Ski Club of the Canadian Rockies. The place has undergone various renovations through the years but it still manages to retain the integrity first captured in the original design. There are no lights, no running water (other than in the kitchen), no indoor bathroom facilities and no cell reception. The immersing history of the Skoki Lodge is frequently shared post-dinner time by Leo, “a mountain man born and raised in these parts,” or by Walter “the quiet, considerate type who’s been at Skoki for 20 years.” The combined knowledge of these two uniquely rural characters make for astonishingly colourful stories to alight the dim, star-filled night.
You arrive at the Skoki Lodge by your own horsepower, whatever form that may be. Our group was spilt between skiers and snowshoers, the most obvious choices of transportation in the area. We chose to park at Fish Creek, take the shuttle to Temple Lodge and then begin the 11 km trek to Skoki, enjoying the journey gaining over a 1000 ft to rest at an elevation of 8200 ft. under beautiful, sunny skies!
The days at Skoki Lodge are, in some ways, wonderfully consistent. The smell of coffee greets early risers at 0600, breakfast begins at 0800 and then you prepare your own lunch from a delicious buffet for your day of adventure that lies ahead! Leo or Walter spend time with guests after breakfast to advise on appropriate outings with maps and directions for each eager group. After morning preparation, people filter out of the cabin in search of their day’s entertainment, taking to the outdoors on snowshoes and skis to revel in the astounding surroundings that beg for exploration and appreciation.
A delicious selection of cheeses, biscuits and soup await your return. As each tired guest rolls in at the end of their day, activities and highlights are shared with elated satisfaction. Hot water is amply provided and a pre dinner “bird bath” feels as good as a shower might have. Candlelight beckons dinner guests at 7 pm and Michelle, the creator of the REMARKABLE food at Skoki, frequently emerges from the kitchen to make sure everyone’s dietary needs and wants are met.
On my last night in this snowy paradise, I drifted off to sleep with Walter and Emily playing tunes on the guitar and piano as the fire crackled, the candles burned and the guests began to dream of what the next day might bring!